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11 asylum 11 asylum Document Transcript

  • AsylumThe Racial State Week 11Dr Alana Lentina.lentin@uws.edu.auMonday, 6 May 13
  • OverviewDefinitions & legal obligationsNumbers & key eventsForced migrationLife in detentionProducing ‘wasted lives’,‘falling from thesky’Activist responsesMonday, 6 May 13
  • ref·u·gee  /ˌrefyo͝oˈjē/Any person who owing to a well founded fear ofbeing persecuted for reasons of race, religion,nationality, membership of a particular socialgroup or political opinion, is outside the countryof his/her nationality and is unable, or owing tosuch fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself oftheprotection of that country.United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951)Monday, 6 May 13Australia is a signatory to 1951 Convention on Refugees.An asylum seeker is someone who is waiting to have their claim for refugee status approved. If a person is found to be a genuine refugee, Australia (and all other signatories) are legallybound to offer protection and to ensure that theperson is not sent back unwillingly to a country in which they risk being persecuted.This is called the principle of ‘non-refoulement’.Background to Geneva Convention:Written in the context of WW3 aftermath.Geared towards a European public and never meant to cope with non-European (African, Asian etc.) immigration.But, sharp rise in ethnic conflict - often fuelled by the West - in the Middle East (Iraq-Iran war, Palestinians…) or in Latin America (Chilean andArgentinian dictatorships…) or famine and conflict in various African countries - led to increase in people seeking refuge in the West.Further increased since wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Asylum seeking in Australia also fuelled by the tensions in Sri Lanka and the dangers to the Tamilminority.
  • NumbersMonday, 6 May 13Global figures:S. Castles (2003): Global refugee population grew from 2.4 m in 1975 to 10.85m in 1985 and 14.9 m in 1993.Declined to 12.1 m by 2000.Climbed again over the decade.8% increase in asylum applications in 2012.Most applications made in Europe and US.Australian figures:Australia is of a lower order - 15,800 asylum applications in 2012.Compare with 64,500 in Germany or 83,400 in the US.Internally displaced:Most people who have been displaced due to war, famine, political persecution etc. do not leave their own countries or regions but are internally displaced (e.g. in refugee camps).Grewock: In 2010, 4/5ths of the world refugee population live in the developing world.[Click to reveal quote from UNHCR]
  • Global figuresNumbersMonday, 6 May 13Global figures:S. Castles (2003): Global refugee population grew from 2.4 m in 1975 to 10.85m in 1985 and 14.9 m in 1993.Declined to 12.1 m by 2000.Climbed again over the decade.8% increase in asylum applications in 2012.Most applications made in Europe and US.Australian figures:Australia is of a lower order - 15,800 asylum applications in 2012.Compare with 64,500 in Germany or 83,400 in the US.Internally displaced:Most people who have been displaced due to war, famine, political persecution etc. do not leave their own countries or regions but are internally displaced (e.g. in refugee camps).Grewock: In 2010, 4/5ths of the world refugee population live in the developing world.[Click to reveal quote from UNHCR]
  • Global figuresAustralian figuresNumbersMonday, 6 May 13Global figures:S. Castles (2003): Global refugee population grew from 2.4 m in 1975 to 10.85m in 1985 and 14.9 m in 1993.Declined to 12.1 m by 2000.Climbed again over the decade.8% increase in asylum applications in 2012.Most applications made in Europe and US.Australian figures:Australia is of a lower order - 15,800 asylum applications in 2012.Compare with 64,500 in Germany or 83,400 in the US.Internally displaced:Most people who have been displaced due to war, famine, political persecution etc. do not leave their own countries or regions but are internally displaced (e.g. in refugee camps).Grewock: In 2010, 4/5ths of the world refugee population live in the developing world.[Click to reveal quote from UNHCR]
  • Global figuresAustralian figuresInternally displacedpeopleNumbersMonday, 6 May 13Global figures:S. Castles (2003): Global refugee population grew from 2.4 m in 1975 to 10.85m in 1985 and 14.9 m in 1993.Declined to 12.1 m by 2000.Climbed again over the decade.8% increase in asylum applications in 2012.Most applications made in Europe and US.Australian figures:Australia is of a lower order - 15,800 asylum applications in 2012.Compare with 64,500 in Germany or 83,400 in the US.Internally displaced:Most people who have been displaced due to war, famine, political persecution etc. do not leave their own countries or regions but are internally displaced (e.g. in refugee camps).Grewock: In 2010, 4/5ths of the world refugee population live in the developing world.[Click to reveal quote from UNHCR]
  • Numbers‘The number of asylum claimsreceived across all industralisedcountries is still smaler than thepopulation of Dadaab, a singlerefugee camp in north-eastKenya.’UN High Commissioner forRefugees (2011)Monday, 6 May 13Global figures:S. Castles (2003): Global refugee population grew from 2.4 m in 1975 to 10.85m in 1985 and 14.9 m in 1993.Declined to 12.1 m by 2000.Climbed again over the decade.8% increase in asylum applications in 2012.Most applications made in Europe and US.Australian figures:Australia is of a lower order - 15,800 asylum applications in 2012.Compare with 64,500 in Germany or 83,400 in the US.Internally displaced:Most people who have been displaced due to war, famine, political persecution etc. do not leave their own countries or regions but are internally displaced (e.g. in refugee camps).Grewock: In 2010, 4/5ths of the world refugee population live in the developing world.[Click to reveal quote from UNHCR]
  • Monday, 6 May 13Refugee Council of Australia:[Click 1] $1.058 b = total cost of the Government’s offshore asylum seeker management program.[Click 2] This is a 247% increase on 2009-10.$800 m = spent on detention alone.
  • $ 1.058 billionTotal Cost of offshore asylum management programme in 2011-12Monday, 6 May 13Refugee Council of Australia:[Click 1] $1.058 b = total cost of the Government’s offshore asylum seeker management program.[Click 2] This is a 247% increase on 2009-10.$800 m = spent on detention alone.
  • $ 1.058 billionTotal Cost of offshore asylum management programme in 2011-12247%increase on 2009-10Monday, 6 May 13Refugee Council of Australia:[Click 1] $1.058 b = total cost of the Government’s offshore asylum seeker management program.[Click 2] This is a 247% increase on 2009-10.$800 m = spent on detention alone.
  • Theorizingforced migration?Multiple push factorWhy a theory of forcedmigration?Monday, 6 May 131. Multiple push factors:Changing definition of what pushed people to flee.Beyond traditional reasons - political persecution, war, famine, etc.- there are new factors:Castles mentions:- Environmental factors - ‘development projects such as dams, airports, roads, luxury housing, conservation areas and game parks.’Often affect poor or indigenous people more - World Bank says that there are 10,000 environmental refugees (in 2003). But Castles warns against this label - as the factors are economicand political as well as purely environmental (i.e. people without political power unable to resist, e.g. mining projects).- Sex trafficking: growing demand in the industrialised north coupled with heavy migration controls increases the illegal ‘trade’ in prostitution (often affects women from conflict zones).2. Why a theory of forced migration?Castles (2003): it is not the numbers alone that make a theory necessary.In fact, only 2% of the world’s population are mobile. Most stay in their own localities. Given, global inequality, it is a wonder more people don’t migrate.A theory is necessary because of (a) the reasons for which people move and (b) the growing criminalisation of asylum seeking (despite being enshrined in law).Next slides:1. A discussion of Bauman’s discussion of ‘glocalisation’ - the fact that, today, ‘the riches are global, the misery is local’ - being able to move is itself a coveted privilege. Under globalisation,only the rich can be mobile, everyone else is stuck. So when poor people - or people perceived as poor - they are deemed de facto illegitimate.
  • Worthy lives,Wasted livesMonday, 6 May 13Migration seems to have become intensified during globalisation (era since the 1970s defined by the interconnectedness of economic and political structures at a global level).Many have pointed out that, under globalisation goods and money flow freely while the movement of people is constrained.Z. Bauman: to understand globalisation, it is better to see it is a two-way process - for some the world is becoming more global, while for the majority it is becoming more local.GlocalizationZygmunt Bauman argues that globalization can be described as the ‘new world disorder’.In globalised times, no one seems to be in control, there is no one centre of power, the world has become a man-made wilderness.Bauman thinks that we should speak of glocalization rather than globalization. This describes the way in which global processes are translated for a local context. Globalization is not aboutcultural uniformity, but the increasing choice from a variety of possibilities available to us through the increase in knowledge about the world.However, not everyone benefits from this. In fact, while globalization has allowed the rich to make more money more quickly, two-thirds of the world has actually lost out due to globalization.Those who benefit from globalization live in time rather than space. They are not constrained by their geographical location because their wealth allows them to move freely.In contrast, those who lose out are stuck in space. As Bauman puts it, ‘in their time, nothing ever happens’ because they do not have the ability to move as they please.So globalization and localization should be seen as two sides of the same coin.Bauman refers to the first (rich, global) group as tourists and the second (poor, local) group as vagabonds.Tourists become wanderers because they want to. It doesn’t matter to them if they have no fixed home because their wealth allows them to enjoy all that is good about the world and permitsthem to feel at home anywhere. This might apply to bankers, international business-people, ‘ex-pats’, some international students...
  • Falling from the skyMonday, 6 May 13Guardian UK report (25.4.2013):‘A young man whose body was found on a pavement in west London almost certainly died after stowing away inside the landing gear of a British Airways flight from Angola in a desperateattempt to make a new life in the UK, an inquest has heard.José Matada was either dead or at the point of death due to hypothermia and lack of oxygen when he fell from the plane as its undercarriage opened for its descent into Heathrow airport,west London coroners court was told.He died on his 26th birthday, with a single pound coin in his pocket, as well as currency from Botswana. He is believed to have originally come from Mozambique, but authorities have beenunable to trace any family or official confirmation of his identity.His body was found on the pavement of Portman Avenue, in East Sheen, an affluent west London suburb, shortly before 7.45am on 9 September last year, just after flight BA76 from Luanda,the Angolan capital, passed overhead.’In ‘Falling from the Sky’ (2010), Les Back describes a number of other similar events, in 2001 and 2002. On one occasion, a driver saw a body falling from the sky, but no one was ever found.Clearly, people are taking desperate measures to get to their destination of choice.In Australia, people take voyages on overcrowded and unseaworthy boats. In Europe, asylum seekers cling to the undercarriage of the high-speed Eurostar train into the tunnel across theEnglish channel.In 2009, the French government dismantled a camp in the port city of Calais, known as ‘the jungle’, where migrants camped waiting for their chance to cross to the UK in this way.Despite this, people keep finding ways to get in.Nevertheless, there seems to be a disconnect between these human stories of bravery and desperation and the ability to extend empathy.Les Back suggests this is because the words ‘immigrant’ and ‘immigration’ have become loaded with negativity (as we shall see in the next slide).Around 150,000 migrant visas are granted to Australia each year. However, only around 14,000 asylum seekers are granted protection visas. While people are waiting to have their claims forasylum assessed, they are not allowed to work.
  • Producing illegalityMonday, 6 May 13Introduce and explain the two pictures.Since the late 1990s, it has become commonplace to link asylum seekers with criminality, sponging, and increasingly with terrorism.Criminality: Two aspects1. Seeking asylum is increasingly portrayed as illegal. In fact it is not illegal to seek asylum whatever the means of transport used to get into a country.2. Asylum seekers themselves are portrayed as criminals, or potential criminals. This can be seen in calls for communities to be told about asylum seekers living in their areas (as one wouldfor sex offenders).Sponging:Asylum seekers are seen as freeloaders.British tabloid press describes them as ‘bogus asylum seekers’, or ‘economic migrants in disguise’. They are widely believed to be making up stories to be granted refugee status.However, the difficulty of getting refugee status makes this unlikely in the majority of cases.Stephen Castles: there a variety of push factors, causing people to become forced migrants, which can include economic hardship. He advocates for seeing the line between forced andvoluntary migrants as much more blurred than allowed for by the system.Consider the case of people dispossessed by natural disasters or dam building etc. causing them to lose their livelihoods. They may not face political persecution, but a government decision(i.e. to allow a business to encroach on their lands and livelihood) has directly resulted in them having to flee.Asylum seekers are not allowed to work, so while their claims are being processed, they are paid for through the state. However, they do not access benefits in the same way as citizens orresidents. Once they are granted refugee status, they have access to the same rights and benefits as anyone else (not more, often less considering discrimination against them making itmore difficult for them to get work).
  • Producing illegalityThere is a sort of elective affinity between immigrants(that human waste of distant parts of the globe unloadedinto our own backyard) and the least bearable of our own,home-grown fears.When all places and positions feel shakyand are deemed no longer reliable, the sight of immigrantsrubs salt into the wound. Immigrants, and particularly thefresh arrivals among them, exude the faint odour of thewaste disposal tip which in its many disguises haunts thenights of the prospective casualties of rising vulnerability.For their detractors and haters, immigrants embody -visibly, tangibly, in the flesh - the inarticulate yet hurtful andpainful presentiment of their own disposability. One istempted to say that were there no immigrants knocking atthe doors, they would have to be invented...’Zygmunt Bauman (2004)Monday, 6 May 13Introduce and explain the two pictures.Since the late 1990s, it has become commonplace to link asylum seekers with criminality, sponging, and increasingly with terrorism.Criminality: Two aspects1. Seeking asylum is increasingly portrayed as illegal. In fact it is not illegal to seek asylum whatever the means of transport used to get into a country.2. Asylum seekers themselves are portrayed as criminals, or potential criminals. This can be seen in calls for communities to be told about asylum seekers living in their areas (as one wouldfor sex offenders).Sponging:Asylum seekers are seen as freeloaders.British tabloid press describes them as ‘bogus asylum seekers’, or ‘economic migrants in disguise’. They are widely believed to be making up stories to be granted refugee status.However, the difficulty of getting refugee status makes this unlikely in the majority of cases.Stephen Castles: there a variety of push factors, causing people to become forced migrants, which can include economic hardship. He advocates for seeing the line between forced andvoluntary migrants as much more blurred than allowed for by the system.Consider the case of people dispossessed by natural disasters or dam building etc. causing them to lose their livelihoods. They may not face political persecution, but a government decision(i.e. to allow a business to encroach on their lands and livelihood) has directly resulted in them having to flee.Asylum seekers are not allowed to work, so while their claims are being processed, they are paid for through the state. However, they do not access benefits in the same way as citizens orresidents. Once they are granted refugee status, they have access to the same rights and benefits as anyone else (not more, often less considering discrimination against them making itmore difficult for them to get work).
  • Tutorial QuestionsAsylum MythsList prevalent myths aboutasylum seekers andrefugees.What are the counterarguments?How are ‘moral panics’about asylum seekers andrefugees created?Why have societalattitudes towards refugeeschanged so dramaticallyover the last two decades?Monday, 6 May 13